London 2012 was undeniably the moment Jade Jones’ life changed forever, crowned Team GB’s first taekwondo Olympic gold medallist – on home soil, no less.
And the ‘headhunter’, who successfully retained her title in Rio last summer, is confident more gold can come her way when her sport descends on the capital once again later this month.
Jones will spearhead a 16-strong British squad at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix, which takes place at the Copper Box Arena from October 20-22.
Also featuring double Olympic medallist Lutalo Muhammad and Rio bronze medallist Bianca Walkden, this month’s event will be the first time London has hosted a World Grand Prix.
In Rabat last month, Great Britain won three medals, with gold for Walkden and Mahama Cho as well as silver for Jones.
And for 24-year-old Jones, who won gold when the World Grand Prix visited Manchester in 2013 and 2015, the opportunity to fight on British shores once again is one she’s determined to make the most of.
“To be back fighting in London again will be just amazing. It will always feel special,” she said.
“Winning my first Olympics at just 19 was the best experience I have ever had in my life.
“I am sure it’s going to be great competing in front of a home crowd again. There is such a good vibe and it’s great to know people have your back.
“It’s our chance to shine and show people what we do behind closed doors. It’s a world class event and all the top people are coming.
“There are valuable ranking points for Tokyo 2020 and a bit of money is a bonus as well.”
Having missed out on selection for London 2012 after recovering from a knee operation, Walkden has since gone on to become a two-time world champion, in addition to winning her Olympic bronze medal in 2016.
Like Jones, she too is counting down the days until she takes to the mat in front of a British crowd, and having won gold at every World Grand Prix so far this season, confidence is high she can impress on home soil.
“To perform in front of a home crowd, me and Jade love it. We are like show ponies deep down,” she said.
“All our friends and family can come who don’t usually get chance to see us though it does mean I hear my dad shouting across the hall.”
-58kg: Max Cater, Hassan Haider
-68kg: Peter Longobardi-Radford, Christian McNeish, Bradly Sinden
-80kg: Lutalo Muhammad, Damon Sansum
+80kg: Mahama Cho
-49kg: Taylor Goodall, Charlie Maddock
-57kg: Rachelle Booth, Jade Jones
-67kg: Lauren Williams
+67kg: Rebecca McGowan, Jade Slavin, Bianca Walkden
The World Taekwondo Grand Prix will take place at London's Copper Box Arena from October 20-22. Tickets available now.